In the aftermath of Monday's Game 7 loss to the Montreal Canadiens, there have been plenty of questions about how the Toronto Maple Leafs will move forward.
Asked Wednesday about his top-four group, which consists of John Tavares, Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander, Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan was clear: “We want to keep them here.”
Shanahan made it clear that while change will happen this summer, he believes fully in the core that's already place.
“We are going to do this here in Toronto with this group. There will be changes that’ll be made, there’ll be tweaks along the way, of course. The team will evolve, the people will evolve. But we are going to get this done,” he told reporters.
Addressing the Maple Leafs' inability to close out the Canadiens, Shanahan said, “There’s a killer instinct that is missing that we need to address."
Up 3-1 in the first-round series, the Maple Leafs were unable to win when it mattered most, with the club's top pair of Matthews and Marner effectively shut down. Marner, in particular, has been in the spotlight as his post-season struggles continued.
Like Shanahan, general manager Kyle Dubas also threw his full support behind his two young stars in the critical spotlight.
“I have tremendous belief in both of them, and I think they’ve shown to everybody what they’re capable of over time," Dubas said Wednesday. "I have no doubt that, as we progress through this journey with our group, that they way that they’re viewed as playoff performers will be much different in the future."